QA The Weather Effect

By Frank ThomasAugust 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email
I asked this question a while back and have lost the article. Have looked at your website, which is very informative, but find nothing mentioned about weather.

The question is: Does humidity have any effect on whether a ball flies shorter or further? I know temperature has an effect, and wind of course.
Thank you
Noel Heacock

Humidity has the effect of reducing the air density and as a result this will reduce the drag on the ball allowing it to go through the air mass with less resistance but at the same time the ball will experience a lower lift force because of the lower air density so it is almost a wash. Bottom line is that the ball will have a lower trajectory and for a drive it will not travel as far on a humid day as it would on a day with air which is drier and more dense. This effect is very small, however, when compared the effect of air temperature. You can figure about 2+ yards per 10 degrees F difference in temperature. The colder temperatures with relatively dense air, increase the drag resistance significantly. When it comes to wind, you should know that a head wind of about 10 mph will reduce the driving distance by about 13 yards whereas a tail wind of the same speed will only help increase your distance by about 9 yards.
Dont worry about humidity but wind and temperature are very important and need to be compensated for appropriately.
Hope this helps solve your weather or not problem.
Mr. Thomas,
Could you please explain what is meant by kick in the shaft? Some have low, mid, or high. How do you know which is right for you?
Thank you, Lurisa Waldron

Shafts are designed to bend more at the tip end (the smaller diameter end that goes into the head) than the butt (grip) end. This has been found to be the most effective bending profile for most effective transfer of energy from the golfer to the club head.
A certain bend pattern has been developed over the years and this is relatively standard. This pattern can vary by making the shaft more or less flexible at the lower section of the shaft. When a shaft is compressed from both ends it will bend. The point which is farthest away from a straight line between the two ends is defined as the bend point or kick point. The distance this point is from the tip end of the shaft can vary up and down the shaft. The total range of this kick point is only about five inches but does have a significant effect on ball flight. A lower kick point is inclined to allow the shaft to bend forward from a lower section allowing the head to present a higher loft to the ball creating a higher launch angle and a little more spin. The higher kick point will reduce the effective loft angle and result in a lower launch angle and lower ball flight.
I do not recommend that most golfers try to alter their ball flight by changing the kick point in the shaft but rather by changing the loft or even the swing. Trying to affect launch angle, by using kick point is a tweak and something one can do when you have tried the most obvious other remedies.
Try to work with a standard flex pattern before you kick yourself.
How does a person line up the pitching wedge when you are only two feet away from the green? Please help I am a new golfer and needed some advice.
Teresa Morales

Alignment is always a problem with almost every club. I have designed a putter, which you can find on my website, which has engraved lines on the top of the head, both in line with the intended putting line as well as at right angles to this line. Unfortunately wedges dont have the area on top to accommodate such lines. Neither do most irons. So the next best thing to do is to line up the leading edge (where the sole meets the face) of the iron at ninety degrees to the intended flight line. In the case of some modern irons and certainly some wedges this leading edge is not a straight line so this makes things difficult. Fortunately for us most manufacturers have lined up the straight grooves at right angles to the flight path (assuming a square impact). So take advantage of this and when addressing the ball make sure that the grooves on the face are at right angles to the intended flight of the ball.
This should help get the correct alignment. The next thing to do is to reproduce this position when impact is made. Hope this helps.
Hi Frank,
Thanks for the great info on your site about the best wedges BUT can you tell us what MODELS within the brand were used?
Thanks Rob

Thanks for the kind comments. Our mission is to help golfers and you will find all sorts of helpful information on the site as you already have. Please understand that in our effort to provide as much reliable information as possible we need to survey our Frankly Friends. I believe that in excess of 1,100 avid golfers answered the questions asking them to rate their wedges. In trying to get this information to you in a timely manner we were not able to ask for the details which include each model but rather just the wedge type.
For example I carry two Titleist Vokey wedges a 52 and a 56. The 56 is a model SM5614, which means it has a loft of 56 degrees, has a Spin Milled (SM) face and a bounce of 14 degrees. My 52 is a 25208. This is not a spin milled face but does have 8 degrees of bounce. The number of wedges in the market place is very large and this multiplied by the number of models of each type is tremendous.
This was a tough one but I am sure you will have no problem with Frankly the Best Drivers or the Balls. Thanks again and stay in touch.hope we can help you and others coming to the site.
Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email

Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

“Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

Parity reigned.

Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

Rolex Player of the Year
Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

Vare Trophy
Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

CME Globe $1 million prize
Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

LPGA money-winning title
Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking
The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

Rolex Rookie of the Year
Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

“Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

How did she evaluate her season?

“I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

“It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

“Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

“I think everybody has little ups and downs.”